Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Motor Rail

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1918. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.
1925. Exhibit at the Shildon Locomotion Museum.
1925. Four-wheel petrol engine locomotive for shunting. Exhibit at the Shildon Locomotion Museum.
1933. Oil Locomotive.
1950. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.

Motor Rail of Bedford is a British locomotive-building company

Formed in 1911 by John Abbott as The Motor Rail & Tramcar Co Ltd, they built petrol and diesel engined locomotives, mainly narrow gauge.

WWI Over 900 locos were supplied for use on temporary military supply railways.

1931 Name changed.

1951 Public flotation of shares in the company; maker of "Simplex" diesel locomotives and "Motor Rail" diesel dumpers[1]. Subsidiaries: Petrol Loco Hirers Ltd, and Diesel Loco Hirers Ltd but these were not trading[2]

1961 Manufacturers of Simplex diesel locomotives and Motor Rail diesel dumpers. 160 employees. [3]

1968 Acquired Low Trading Trailer[4]

1968 Won the Queen's Award for Export

1969 Made a trading loss but sold subsidiary Bedford Crane and Plant Hire and the premises of Low Trading Trailer in Bedford[5]

1971 Was a subsidiary of Loco Handling[6]

1972 Burnholme and Forder acquired a majority interest[7]

1972 The operating company was renamed Simplex Mechanical Handling, a subsidiary of Motor Rail which became the holding company[8]

1972 Motor Rail acquired British Tools and Pressings from Brayhead[9]

1976 Sales of Simplex Mechanical Handling and of John Street (Manufacturers) were agreed[10]

1976 The company was put into receivership together with its subsidiary Keland Ltd of Blaydon on Tyne; a new company Keland Electrics was established by the National Enterprise Board to acquire the manufacturing and certain other assets of Keland[11]

1987 loco manufacture ceased, business being transferred to Alan Keef of Ross-on-Wye, who continue to provide spares and have built several locos to Motor Rail designs.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jul 25, 1951
  2. The Times Jul 30, 1951
  3. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  4. The Times, Apr 24, 1968
  5. The Times, Aug 13, 1969
  6. The Times, Aug 07, 1971
  7. The Times, May 18, 1972
  8. The Times, Aug 30, 1972
  9. The Times, Dec 14, 1972
  10. The Times, Feb 04, 1976
  11. The Times, Feb 08, 1977